Dear Family Resource,
When my dad was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s type dementia, my two sisters and I lived near my father and we decided to provide the care needed by splitting the time and duties evenly. That worked for two years, then my dad’s dementia started to get worse and one of my sisters moved out of town. My sister sends me money to pay for a caregiver for the time she had been helping. My other sister also moved and she now pays for a caregiver to cover her shifts. I’m left with having to hire and supervise caregivers, and I still provide care 1/3 of the time. I’m exhausted and some days I just want dad to move to an assisted living community. My sisters want him to stay at home. Sometimes I think the only way out is for me to move away. HELP!
~Only Daughter Left
Dear Only Daughter,
First, I know how difficult it is to take care of an elderly parent and have the sole responsibility for his care and well-being, and having to watch him deteriorate. You must feel deserted by your sisters. I have a few suggestions for you, but first, ask your dad what he wants if he is able to tell you.
It’s time for you and your sisters to hire a Geriatric Care Manager. It may feel like an extravagance, but a care manager will be able to assess your father’s situation and work with you and your sisters to determine the course going forward. A care manager can help with hiring a home care agency, like Family Resource Home Care, to relieve all of you from providing the direct care, and allowing for quality time with your father. Care managers can also help you with out-of-home placement if that is the preference, based on your father’s current and future functioning, his finances, and your preferences.
A care manager can do so much for you; help review your father’s finances to determine what type of care he can afford, assist with medical appointments, act as a go-between with the caregivers and your family, get your father set-up for an adult day program, and let you know about resources you and your family can draw upon.
You can go to the “Aging Life Care Association” for information on care management services and care managers in your area. Good luck!